March 27, 2014

Horseshoe Lake aerial view March 2014

CHCH EQ Photos did some more aerial shots of Christchurch this week..

Here is Horseshoe Lake - we live to the bottom right of the photo across the river.
It is almost empty.....

What did it used to look like?

Avon River Park had some pictures on facebook of the inner part - sad to see it so damaged

There are plans to use the sunken land as a potential rowing venue which will double as a flood plain reserve for the River Avon. Here is one of the proposals... which would mean blocking off the road along the main River and putting a bridge up. Parts 3 and 4 would be inside the Horseshoe loop...

The other option is widening the Avon....

The city is also changing  - maybe not fast enough and the roadworks are a nightmare.

Red Zone streets - no longer have road access 
Where did you want to go again????

The new grass areas are where the new frame will surround the eastern part of the city. Latimer Square is where the Rescue teams were based after the Feb 2011 earthquake. It used to be surrounded by buildings. At least the green is better than the dusty wasteland look.

Just had a lovely graduation dinner with last years classes - tomorrow we will be watching them graduate.  Another year gone.

The weather is cooler at night now - and although we all commented it wont be long until summer again, someone pointed out that type of thinking is wishing our lives away. So I will relish the beauty of autumn and live in the now!

March 23, 2014

Appreciating the late summer sun as graduation week begins

I am really loving the spell of fine weather - an autumn treat as the leaves change colour around the city. We feel as if summer hardly got started this year so got to make the most of every day we can.

Poppy and Jess made some friends at the dog park... there were seven of them!

We spent a lovely day at Sumner Beach yesterday.  Hot sun, beautiful scenery and a relaxing afternoon.

Quiet day today after a very late chat with my Mother in England. She has sent me piles of lovely pictures of all my relatives and ancestors and it was good to chat and have a giggle together and catch up on her news.

Blair, my nephew has got a job in Auckland, so will be leaving us soon. Alex and I went to Mum and Dad's for fresh scones with jam and cream  and James and Jess came over. I took all the new family photos over to show them - it's a novelty for them to see their family resemblances too.  We also looked back at all the Kent  ancestry too for Dad and Blair.  It was a peek into a way of life that has gone; history captured in letters and photos.  It made us wonder how we will look back at our lives today - blogs, social media, digital photos - what will our grandchildren all look at?  The back ups we keep are never seen by anyone !

I got these pics of the Marlborough Sounds as I flew over on Thursday - you can just see the Interislander Cook Strait ferry in the channel crossing from Picton to Wellington.

You can see a map of the route at,174.2519566,11z

It is graduation week for us so we have reunions with our classes and formalities to look forward to :). I love seeing them all again. It is a timely reminder of why we do the work we do. Congratulations are definitely in order for all of them.

Have a great week!

March 20, 2014

A great day at Massey - memories of 40 years ago

Good old Palmy...
Back to Massey. I started there in 1975.
SO many memories. I wrote about a few here and added some pictures off the internet.
For the first time in 30 years I got to revisit the vet tower and check out the changes. A whistle stop tour lasting a mere four hours.... before the full expansion project is done.

It was a relief to see that some things hadn't changed even if I didn't recognise Palmerston North at all. Like the rest of the world, it was generally busier, more congested and there were a lot more girls hanging around the vet school than in the seventies! It was funny to see the other alumni there with me at the meeting were all feeling the same and we had a good laugh at memories of our time spent there.

Perhaps to me the most overwhelming thing was how big the trees had got. I don't think people believed me that they weren't there in my day. I had seen pictures of them, but actually being there was so different. My first reaction when I got to the third floor looking back over the campus was to check out the duck pond... the difference was so huge that only the fact there were duck and water looked the same - but the steady quacking was instantly familiar. Mind you I live on the banks of a wildlife reserve so I hear it a lot at home anyway!

These are the duck pond today as seen from the vet tower...

Looking over the foot bridges back to the rest of the campus

So I came home and dug out some photos....
This is how the vet tower looked in 1975
Trees?????? What trees???
My friends, 1975 in front of duck pond and the Vet Tower - as hopeful vet students in waiting

Looking over the bridge crossing to the tower
 I can see the newly planted trees in this picture below !!!

Sitting on the foot bridge - dreaming of getting accepted into vet school

My Hostel - Young hopefuls... 1975

Bubbles owned her own car!!!! and just look at the cars that were there...

Joint 21st with my flatmate Peter - no not an engagement! 

Pro Poofta Ball
Very sad last day of our flat 1979 with Jenny my Labrador front left... terrible pic, great people!

I am still in touch with three of those flatmates - now Dr Bruce - currently in Auckland,  and Dr Peter in Napier - both in forms of ag/hort research, and Dr Claire and I are both vets here in Christchurch.

For a variety of reasons I have been quite nostalgic this week all round.
Seeing myself again as a young hopeful 17 year old starting at Massey - priceless.

March 16, 2014

Kitten Heaven and Celebrations

Despite the rain and wind today from Cyclone Lusi we have had a lovely weekend celebrating the house purchase being finalised. It's good to have some end to the process and sever ties to the past. It has been a year of healing with reduced anxiety levels and life is more peaceful. The future feels happier. Thank you to the many lovely people who have sent messages and celebrated with me this weekend. Your continued support over many months has been something I will always be grateful for.
Some ties to the past remain as a huge and positive part of my life. The companionship continued with Jaz and Mark and the girls yesterday.  Its been a tough week for them but there are many things to be grateful for and we had a relaxed and happy day.

They have gorgeous new kittens... about 18 weeks old. Their names are still changing but the last version seemed to be Maggie, and Melody who became Milly during the course of the evening...

Maggie - see her tabby stripes

Melody - or maybe Milly....
Sunning themselves 
They are great with Rosie - just love their furniture!
And they are both just lovely friendly cats....
Molly sat still long enough for a photo.... growing so fast!

Great celebration drink - Elderflower and Lime cider.
It was a lovely day.

Got home late but in time to hang out with the boys and my nephew Blair who has returned from the North Island.  They were having a party too -  with my cider, a few beers and their friend Nicole was on Honey Bourbon and Coke. It was a nice midnight drink.... but I was still trying to sleep at 3 am as too wired from coke to slow down!  A quiet morning has been in order.
To be fair, an addiction to the new game 2048 has not helped getting to sleep either - start it at your own risk!

Planning a quiet day while the cyclone travels down the island - hopefully well to the west of us.
Water-logged Christchurch might avoid the worst of the rain because Lusi has tracked further west, which meant the downpours were now more focused for the West Coast and Nelson region today, WeatherWatch said.

We are all following the storm on this,-34.12,640



Roof still on. :)

March 13, 2014

Mother Nature - so powerful, so beautiful. Thankful Thursday.

Amazing footage... it is hard to believe this is not computer graphics at their best. How can real birds create such configurations and move together so wonderfully!


Meanwhile we wait for Cyclone Lusi to muck up our weekend here in New Zealand. Flood measures are being prioritised around Christchurch so that the already sodden land won't produce our second 100 year flood in a fortnight.
The Civil Defence and councils across the country are preparing for a battering as a tropical cyclone tacks toward New Zealand, bringing heavy rain and winds.
MetService says Cyclone Lusi is expected to bring severe weather when it moves toward the North Island on Saturday before crossing the South Island late Sunday.
"It's a category 3 storm," says ONE News weather presenter Karen Olsen.
"That means the winds at its centre are up around 120 kilometres, gusting up to 170km/h, and that can be quite damaging."
Auckland's Civil Defence and Emergency Management is advising Aucklanders to prepare for road closures and power and phone outages.

Washing is all done - Fresh towels and tarps in the roof being readied... if the wind doesn't take it off this weekend, we are still waiting on quotes to replace it. As the house sale goes through tomorrow I can finally get more repairs done - free at last :) Its a great feeling!

On Sunday we celebrated Liam's birthday at my parents.... that flaming creation is chocolate mousse cake, just in case the fresh scones with jam and cream hadn't already filled us up.

Sadly, at dinner time Mark landed up in the emergency department so I raced over there to be with them. It has been a long few days while he has tests and follow up and was discharged.  Hopefully we will know more soon. The champagne celebration tomorrow over the house might have to wait a bit longer.... but today I am thankful that he is back home with Jaz and the girls.


March 11, 2014

RedditPics - Comparing the Costs of Human vs. Animal Health Care.

Vets are increasingly under pressure to perform procedures for less and less money while trying to keep themselves and their staff paid and equipment up to date. Somehow the public expect that vets will perform work for free, because they love animals.

If you genuinely can't afford to pay, or borrow the money, vets cannot extend credit and surgery and intensive care might not happen for your pet. Humane euthanasia will of course always be an option to reduce their pain and suffering but it is a sad choice for both owner and the veterinary staff.

Pet ownership need not be a luxury item, but there has to be a weekly budget per animal allowed for to ensure they can be fed, wormed, vaccinated, groomed and that an insurance policy will offer financial help when illness or accidents happen.  Poppy is the first pet I have owned that has her own insurance policy - after the sudden illness that Saffy experienced and resultant costly spell in intensive care, I decided it was important to ME to have this!

Meanwhile, you might like to compare the costs....
RedditPics - Comparing the Costs of Human vs. Animal Health Care.

March 9, 2014

Kaikoura getaway - perfect weather!

After our storm, rain and flooding last week, it was great to hop on the bus and head to Kaikoura with about 30 other students and staff.  The sun came out and we had a perfect afternoon exploring...

Kaikoura Beach - Picture by Afra Dixon

Picture by Afra Dixon
Dusky Lodge Backpackers- pool, spa and sauna...

followed by beside the pool drinks...

Wine glass art...

Becky is our animal room technician - she is from Yorkshire...enjoying seeing more of New Zealand.  

and a great dinner and night in town. Thank you Why Not Cafe, Strawberry Tree, Adelphi Hotel....

Dawn produced a perfect still morning.

Sadly, despite this, the sea was described as challenging.
We waited in the early morning sun while the trip was "on hold"... ironically beside the peaceful northern beach...

and when it was cancelled we had a proper breakfast and headed off to the seal colony instead. Disappointing for the students but it's the first time in 14 years so it had to happen one day!

Once we got to the southern beach they appreciated better what the sea was really like... and were glad to be safely on shore.

There were huge waves breaking - the photos don't do it justice but we watched the tide roll in over the rocks and listened to the roar of the water, with some joking about people who talk (and swear) when people are videoing... hence the voice over.

There was a Shag with a badly broken wing  - we sent one of our staff and some of the girls to take it back to the vet clinic - where it was euthanased. But at least it is out of pain.

Afra also took some great pictures of the seals.... she is a talented photographer.

Almost everyone - wonderful people - great trip

Driving home we could see the water churning. It was like it was boiling.... white water all over the beaches.  Not sure what had stirred it all up as it was calmer the day before, even though the storm had passed through. The sea has a mind of its own driven by forces we are not always aware of. Respect her at all times.

I was glad to be home and see Poppy... and have dinner round the table, an Indian feast, with James, Jess, Alex, Kirsty and Nicole to celebrate Liam's birthday.

A truly wonderful day....


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